National & World News from NPR

The State Department has lifted its Level 4 global travel advisory, the highest warning against U.S. citizens traveling internationally, citing changing conditions in the coronavirus pandemic.

On the Beach, the 1959 film version of Nevil Shute's cataclysmic bestseller, kicks into gear with a newscast designed to transport 1950s movie audiences from the nuclear age into a post-nuclear age:

"Scientists disagree as to when radiation will reach Australia," intones the newscaster. "The atomic war has ended. But the prime minister reports no proof of survival of human life anywhere except here."

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

Today, we're going into our archive to remember journalist Pete Hamill. He died yesterday at age 85 from complications following emergency surgery after falling and breaking a hip. Hamill was described in The New York Times as the quintessential New York journalist. Times columnist Dan Barry once wrote, if the pavement of New York City could talk, it would sound like Pete Hamill.

A steel razor blade can get dull surprisingly quickly when cutting something as soft as hair, and now researchers have gotten their first up-close look at how a close shave actually damages an everyday disposable razor.

This leading-edge research, described in the journal Science, used a scanning electron microscope to peer at a razor as it sliced through strands of hair.

Updated at 10:35 p.m. ET

Hours after announcing he had tested positive for COVID-19, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said on Thursday evening that a second test for the virus came back negative.

DeWine announced that he was administered an antigen test in the morning and a PCR test in the afternoon, and was more confident in the results of the latter.

Michelle Obama said that she's dealing with "some form of low-grade depression" due to the coronavirus lockdown, racial strife in the U.S., and the Trump administration.

In the second episode of her new podcast, the former first lady spoke with her friend Michele Norris, the former longtime host of NPR's All Things Considered.

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is off to a record start – and it will only get worse as the season's traditional peak begins next week and will run through October. The latest estimates call for nearly twice the normal number of named storms this year.

Even before Aug. 1, nine named storms had already formed – "the most ever recorded since the satellite era began in 1966," according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

When a Salvadoran woman grabbed her 4-year-old daughter and fled their home country in February, the coronavirus wasn't yet a global pandemic.

By the time they reached the U.S.-Mexico border a month later, that had changed. She crossed the Rio Grande, planning to ask for asylum. But Border Patrol agents took her and her daughter right back to Mexico, despite her pleas.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET

The attorney general of New York took action Thursday to dissolve the National Rifle Association following an 18-month investigation that found evidence the powerful gun rights group is "fraught with fraud and abuse."

Attorney General Letitia James claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday that she found financial misconduct in the millions of dollars and that it contributed to a loss of more than $64 million over a three-year period.

I'm a New Yorker. Trees in Manhattan grow with little metal fences around their bottoms. So I didn't learn about lying under trees until I had a backyard in Washington, D.C. That delay surely stunted my growth. But this tree, at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Neb., has recuperative powers for anything that ails you.

Click the video below and watch what happens when the tree moves. (Just watch. Turn off the sound. I'll tell you what the curator says after you ... just ... look.)

President Trump is attacking Democrats on a new front: suburbia.

"They want to eliminate single-family zoning, bringing who knows into your suburbs," Trump said on a July campaign call.

Joe Biden says that he believes prosecuting a former president would be a "very unusual thing and probably not very ... good for democracy," but he would not stand in the way of a future Justice Department pursuing criminal charges against President Trump after he leaves office.

The comments from the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee came during a virtual interview Tuesday with members from the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

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You know how sometimes people say, Oh, it's okay. You don't have to read the first book in this series to dive right into the second.

This is not that kind of book.

You know how sometimes people say, It's like everything you loved about the first book, only MORE.

This is not that kind of book.

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As the school year starts in many districts across the country, a new national poll of teachers from NPR/Ipsos finds overwhelming trepidation about returning to the physical classroom.

The dawn of the nuclear age began with a blinding, flesh-melting blast directly above the Japanese city of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945. It was 8:16 a.m. on a Monday, the start of another workday in a city of nearly 300,000 inhabitants. An estimated two-thirds of that population — nearly all civilians — would soon be dead.

"In a battle for facts, in a battle for truth, journalism is activism," says Philippine journalist Maria Ressa.

Ressa, who is internationally known and lauded for standing up to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's escalating attacks on the press, tells NPR that circumstances in the Philippines have forced her to evolve as a journalist.

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All right. Time now for an espresso shot of musical endorphins.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: When the pandemic forced summer music festivals to cancel, banjo players felt particularly unstrung.

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Rescue workers in Beirut are still hoping to find survivors in all of the rubble after that massive explosion at the city's port.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Caitlin Boehne wasn't too happy that she had to vote in person during a recent primary runoff in Austin, Texas.

Boehne is under 65 and isn't disabled, so voting by mail wasn't available to her under current Texas law. She says it was a frustrating situation.

"The workers, the voters — everybody has to risk their health in order to participate in the democratic process," she says. "It's astounding."

Updated at 9 a.m ET

Ordinarily when people lose their job, they spend less money. But something unusual happened this spring when tens of millions of people were suddenly thrown out of work by the coronavirus pandemic.

Seven years ago, a white police officer pulled over Black man driving through Mississippi in a newly purchased Mercedes convertible.

For nearly two hours, the officer pushed to search the vehicle, allegedly lied to its owner, enlisted a drug detection dog and ultimately left the exhausted man by the side of the road to put his car back together again.

The Mercedes had been ripped apart and the driver was so shaken he sued the police officer.

As schools across the country grapple with bringing kids back into the classroom, parents — and teachers — are worried about safety. We asked pediatricians, infectious disease specialists and education experts for help evaluating school district plans.

What we learned: There's no such thing as zero risk, but certain practices can lower the risk of an outbreak at school and keep kids, teachers and families safer.

The sheep and goats, pigs and cows lounging in the shade of the covered, outdoor arena had no idea about the strange times we're living through. They didn't know that just beyond their pens — more spaced-out than normal — there weren't the typical carnival rides, funnel cake stands or crowds at this year's Mesa County Fair in Grand Junction, Colo.

Even though 9-year-old Harold Stafford had been planning for the fair for months, he still seemed surprised to be there.

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